Clocking out of the school year with Centennial’s first year staff

New staff members review and reflect on their 2022-2023 school year at CHS.

John Seibel, an assistant principal at Centennial High School

John Seibel, an assistant principal at Centennial High School

Finals are coming and the summer is soon to arrive. Staff are left in the building for a few days more, reflecting on the past year and making plans for the upcoming fall.

John Seibel, an assistant principal at Centennial High School

Becoming a staff member who doesn’t teach, but still holds a major role in the academic lives of students involves more of a social effort to connect with students around the building. Mr. John Seibel loves the community he sees at Centennial and was blown away by the fun and camaraderie the students have with each other. He typically visits students during classes such as the honors and on-grade classes and attends many arts and sporting events.

However, he still struggles to match names and faces. “It’s so difficult to walk down the hallway and go, ‘um… you,’ and then once I get to, I’m meeting you guys now, I’ll see you in the hallway,”elaborates Seibel. Next year, Seibel strives to visit the gifted and talented classes more often, and place his priority on the rising sophomores and juniors. 

Sarah Hensley, an Art and Humanities teacher at Centennial High School

After Sarah Hensley taught at Howard High School for the past few years of her professional career, she has newly joined the eagle family this school year. She had an exciting year, especially highlighting teaching Humanities art history as one of her favorite memories.

Fortunately, Hensley’s teaching experience allowed the shift between schools to go smoothly. Throughout her time at Centennial, she observed that “Howard is really similar to Centennial, kids are kids, and I really enjoy teaching, so it’s been really rewarding.”

With many talented student artists in the Centennial art community, Hensley awaits her new wave of students to inspire during the upcoming school year. To be more precise, she looks forward to trying “a lot of new things in my Art II class and hopefully [to] be teaching Humanities again” in the fall.

Will Funk-Heiser, a German teacher at Centennial High School and Long Reach High School

By the nature of a public high school, people come and go. Mr. Will Funk-Heiser, the new German teacher, is a proud alumni of Centennial, class of 2008. To return as a teacher, “it felt weird, but it was outstanding and I was a little nervous to come back because it was such an excellent school then and it turns out it still is an excellent school.” With the honor of his position, he explained that his aspiration for this year was to “hold” and “fill the shoes” of former German teacher Dan Desmond. 

Various successes followed Funk-Heiser’s arrival in the German department. This year, his biggest highlight was having several Centennial German students scoring above the 80th percentile on the National German exam, along with being the only public school in Maryland and D.C. area to have won multiple awards.

The 2022-23 school year has been a long and challenging one, but Funk-Heiser did not let that prevent his class from fully experiencing the culture abroad. During this past spring break, he took his students to Germany and the Swiss Alps, which was “phenomenal and just one of the best experiences of my life,” he recalls.

On a personal level, Funk-Heiser anticipates that next year will be an exciting time, as he will be teaching Centennial students full time, allowing him to participate in more activities. His plan for next year is to “grow the German program even more or [go] back to Germany hopefully, trying to get that off the ground, and [make] new friends with teachers.”

We reached out to these three staff members with different yet equally important jobs around the building ;one of our assistant principals, an art teacher, and a German teacher. They have varying tasks in their daily routines at Centennial, but they all come with a common goal: to teach and inspire. They strive to understand their students and to create a positive experience for them.

“The reality is, you guys are awesome, energy, and life. The love and support, and care for kids between one another really is what captured my heart, working with you guys,” exclaims. Seibel.